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Nassau BOCES joins national celebration of career and technical education

Month-long observance highlights efforts to create job pipeline for Long Island industries

Medical Assisting students

Westbury UFSD students Marsha Minott and Mario Arredondo Rojas study Medical Assisting at Nassau BOCES Barry Tech.

Nassau BOCES, which provides thousands of high school students and adults with Career and Technical Education (CTE) annually, is proudly celebrating national CTE month through a series of activities this February.  All of the events highlight Nassau BOCES' commitment to a flourishing job pipeline for Long Island industries. From a blood drive supported by Medical Assisting students to a visit by Cornell Cooperative Extension in the Child Care Skills program.

"This year's celebration of CTE month is particularly important because it coincides not only with Nassau BOCES' 50th anniversary in providing excellence in CTE but with the 100th anniversary of Congress signing the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act," said Gene Silverman, Executive Director of Nassau BOCES Department of Regional School and Instructional Programs. "Each of our programs is aimed at helping students of all ages fill the needs of Long Island’s job market. Adult education students and high school students alike leave their programs ready to continue advanced career studies in a technical training course, attend a two- or four-year college or enter the world of work."

Nassau BOCES has two types of CTE programs both located at the Joseph M. Barry Career & Technical Education Center in Westbury. The half-day high school program, Barry Tech, provides more than 40 occupational programs for more than 1,470 juniors and seniors from throughout Nassau County. Barry Tech programs range from automotive skills and construction, healthcare and horse science to cosmetology and aviation. Each are taught in environments that simulate the real world. Classes may be held in an airplane hangar, horse training stable, carpentry shop or video production studio. Courses focus real-world work applications in addition to structural, targeted instruction.

High school seniors participate in internships with one of Barry Tech's many industry partners. "We have close relationships with surrounding Long Island businesses, representing each of the focus areas we offer, who we consult with each year to make sure we are developing a curriculum that addresses the skills needed to excel in that specific field," said Barry Tech Principal Peter Dalton. "These partnerships also allow us to place students in internships and even jobs upon graduation, allowing our students to gain real-world experience, make professional contacts and contribute to the Long Island economy."

In addition, Nassau BOCES offers an adult CTE program in the evenings to hundreds of residents from Nassau County and beyond. This program is always working with industry partners to provide skilled workers in fields with employee shortages. This year there are new programs, which include Clinical Medical Assistant, Manufacturing and Child Development Associate.

"We partner with employers to ensure that our courses meet industry standards. Our instructors, are top notch and bring a wealth of experience to each classroom," said Laura Holder-Gibbs, Principal of Adult Education. "When our students complete a course they are skilled in the latest methods and technologies to ensure an easy transition to the Long Island workforce. At a time when our nation is focused on college and career readiness, job creation and economic recovery, addressing adult education on Long Island is critical."

CTE Month is a public awareness campaign the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) holds each February to celebrate Career and Technical Education and the achievements and accomplishments of CTE programs across the country.